Four top presidential candidates started campaigning in Nigeria this week for next February’s election in an open race to replace President Muhammadu Buhari.
Less than five months before the ballot, no clear frontrunner has emerged in the race.
Amongst younger voters, there is hope for change.
“I’m a first time voter. I would like to see the candidates speak so I can choose the right person to vote for. This 2023 election, we must vote right, we must vote right and we must vote wisely”, said one young woman in Lagos.
Another Lagos resident added:
“This time around I don’t just want to seat back and say, whatever they bring for me is ok by me. I want to take out that bold step by myself, let me see if my vote will count or not. That is the more reason why I’ve made up my mind that this year I must step out, get my voter’s card and I will vote”, she promised.
With the economy struggling, high inflation and a general sense of insecurity, many voters are looking to alternatives to the main parties.
At the moment, there are 18 presidential candidates, including one woman.
On the streets of Lagos, many are determined to hold politicians to account.
“We are set and ready to vote for who will change our lives. We’re not going to go round the same circles every time. All the old stories, the things they have been telling us, all the lies they have been telling us in campaigns, now there are not going to be lies anymore. What we are going to be hearing now is facts and truths. What are you going to do, what are you going to present, what are you going to give to the people? That is what we want to see, we are tired of all these years in darkness and suffering” added an another male voter.
Since returning to democracy after military rule in 1999, Nigerian elections have been marked by violence, delays, fraud claims and court challenges.